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Business News/ News / India/  Patanjali contempt case: SC questions govt inaction; Baba Ramdev, Balkrishna get final chance to file new affidavits
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Patanjali contempt case: SC questions govt inaction; Baba Ramdev, Balkrishna get final chance to file new affidavits

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah today refused to accept the apologies of Baba Ramdev and Patanjali MD Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case concerning the apex court's order about the company's misleading advertisements for its medicinal products.

Yoga guru Ramdev and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna after appearing before the Supreme Court in connection with the Patanjali misleading advertisements case, in New Delhi on April 2 (PTI Photo)Premium
Yoga guru Ramdev and Managing Director of Patanjali Ayurved Acharya Balkrishna after appearing before the Supreme Court in connection with the Patanjali misleading advertisements case, in New Delhi on April 2 (PTI Photo)

Patanjali Ayurved Misleading Ads Contempt Case: The Supreme Court of India on April 2 questioned the central government on its inaction against misleading advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved.

A SC bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah heard the matter today and refused to accept the apologies of Baba Ramdev and Patanjali MD Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case concerning its order about the company's misleading advertisements for its medicinal products.

AYUSH Ministry Not Proactive Enough, says SC

Addressing the Centre's counsel Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the apex court said it has questions for the Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) Ministry, Bar & Bench reported.

It noted that the ministry should have been proactive in clarifying its stance that ayurvedic products are supplementary to other medicines and that users are not meant to do away with allopathic treatment, it added.

"We have questions for AYUSH. You issued notice to Patanjali and they filed a reply and reply is not before us and we are wondering why. COVID-19 was in 2022 and you had yourself stated that these were at best a supplement to the main medicine. This was not publicized at all. Nothing could move without Central go-ahead during COVID-19 and you did nothing to make this known. It was a critical period," Justice Kohli stated.

Justice Kohli also questioned the Centre for failing to take action against Patanjali despite the company's attempts to disparage modern medicine.

"AYUSH has much to commend and there is a limit to what they can do. But the manner in which other modes have been disparaged is utterly shocking. They have mocked the others. Have you seen the transcript?" Justice Kohli asked.

"He (Baba Ramdev) has done a lot for Yoga. But that cannot be stretched to pick holes in everything else," Justice Amanullah added.

After today's hearing, the Court has ordered that the Drugs and License Department be also added as a party to the case. The next hearing has been listed for April 10 and Ramdev and Balkrishna have been directed to be present.

“Our goal is for the rule of law to be followed and the faith in the constitution is upheld. This is the last opportunity given because of the trust we have in you (Senior Advocate Balbir Singh appearing for Ramdev and Patanjali)," said Justice Amanatullah. 

Supreme Court's Observations During Hearing

  • The SC noted that Patanjali cannot shift blame to its media department for the company's press conference violating court orders.
  • It called Balkrishna and Ramdev's apologies "lip service", adding that Ramdev should have apologised first thing in court.
  • Refused to accept the argument that missteps happened due to public interest or for the larger good, and called it "absolute defiance", adding that the contempt case would be pursued "to the end".
  • Apex court noted that not teaching lessons to Patanjali, adding that Ramdev cannot be compared to common citizens due to his wide reach.
  • Ramdev did enough for Yoga but that does not give him license to critic or mock other modes of medicine, the bench observed.
  • The court held that primary facie Patanjali had committed perjury by creating documents after stating that they were already filed.
  • SC questioned the lack of publicisation by the AYUSH Ministry about Patanjali products being supplementary to allopathy and not a replacement.

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Published: 02 Apr 2024, 12:56 PM IST
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